Blog Archives

On the compulsive reading of news

“Remind me … to write a popular article on the compulsive reading of news. The theme will be that most neuroses and some psychoses can be traced to the unnecessary and unhealthy habit of daily wallowing in the troubles and

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Quotation and endorsement

I like sharing quotes on Twitter. Occasionally a quote will provoke an angry reaction, not to the content of the quote but to the source. Sometimes people will even acknowledge that they agree with the quote, but are dismayed that

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When rejected thoughts coming back

I was struck by this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson, even though I’m not sure I understand what he meant. In every work of genius, we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated

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Go and do

Another quote from Tristan Gylberd: If you always go where you have always have gone and always do what you have always done, you will always be what you have always been. Related post: Odd little bookshops

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Software under-represents reality

From Jaron Lanier: I love software, but software always under-represents reality. Reality has this depth to it and potential for surprise and subtlety that you just can’t get from software. Related posts: The bipolar Internet Underwhelmed with progress Make something

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Posted in Computing

Destructive capacity of individuals and states

From Modern Times: The destructive capacity of the individual, however vicious, is small; of the state, however well-intentioned, almost limitless.

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Total security

“If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing missing is freedom.” — Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Small concepts with enormous implications

Interesting philosophical aside from a technical book: The software field — really, any scientific field — tends to advance most quickly and impressively on those few occasions when someone (i.e., not a committee) comes up with an idea that is

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Forced to be simple

From Paul Graham: When you’re forced to be simple, you’re forced to face the real problem. When you can’t deliver ornament, you have to deliver substance. Related posts: Confusing familiar with simple Rewarding complexity A little simplicity goes a long

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Posted in Creativity

Two kinds of generalization

From George Pólya: There are two kinds of generalizations. One is cheap and the other is valuable. It is easy to generalize by diluting a little idea with a big terminology. It is much more difficult to prepare a refined

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Posted in Creativity, Math, Software development

Honor and shame

From Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis: “You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders

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Learners versus the learned

“In times of change, learners will inherit the earth while the learned will find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” — Eric Hoffer

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Hidden curriculum

“The university’s ‘hidden curriculum’ … has always been teaching its own importance.” — Anya Kamenetz

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Treating people like adults

James Marcus Bach recalls the following from his seventh grade orientation. At one point the grumpy man said, “We consider you to be young adults now, and we expect you to behave as such.” … No one would say that

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Being a dreamer is hard work

From Douglas Engelbart, inventor of the computer mouse: I confess that I am a dreamer. Someone once called me just a dreamer. That offended me, the just part; being a real dreamer is hard work. It really gets hard when

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